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Buffalo finally snapped out of it. A playoff spot is there for the taking, and it’s like neither the Sabres nor the Caps want it. Same with the Sharks, for that matter. But the Sabres were down three zip, but had 32 shots in the last two periods for the win. Ville Leino was the big hero. Actually no, just wanted you to do a double-take.
Alexander Sulzer played 24 minutes and tallied three points. That’s points in three straight games and he’s gone from being scratched to being leaned on. A lot was expected of Sulzer three years ago with Nashville. And after being pretty much pulled off the scrap heap, he has eight points in 15 games with Buffalo. Meanwhile, Andrej Sekera was a minus-3. Not enough to pass Sekera on the depth chart yet, but it’s certainly getting to that point.
Look at the line on Markus Foligno so far – 13-6-7-13, plus-8, 9 PIM. Fantastic stuff. And this chemistry with Tyler Ennis, if he can make it work into next season, watch out. If a 50-point player latches on with an 80-point player (as I think Ennis will be in the long run), then 50 quickly becomes 65.
I’m a big fan of Matt Frattin – his hustle, his ability to get into position. He just needs finish, but he’s slowly polishing up that part of his game. His numbers are unimpressive, but in the last 38 games he has 14 points and is even. That’s not so bad.
Joey Crabb has seven points and is plus-4 in his last six games. I think he’s the perfect third liner, his game has really come a long. Some of you may remember my feelings on his lack of talent a year or so ago. No more.
Still with the Leafs, Tyler Bozak is three points shy of 50. He just turned 26, so there’s probably still room for a bit more. If Toronto doesn’t land a No.1 center in the summer somehow, then Bozak gets the job by default and takes a run at 60 points.
Tyler Ennis has 19 points in his last 12 games.
Patrik Elias, who turns 36 next week, has three straight two-point games. He has 76 points and this is the second time he caught me off guard. I remember back in 2000 I thought there was no way that he could build on his 72-point season. Talented, but not superstar talented. Yeah, then he went out and got 96 points. And here I am again thinking his 70-point days were over… and boom.
A lot of people are patting Ilya Kovalchuk on the back for having this monster season. It was a good season, not a great one. He just got his 35th goal last night. But then again, so did Matt Moulson. And if Moulson played 25 minutes a night he would have a lot more. Just saying… don’t dislocate your shoulder patting Kovalchuk’s back too vigorously.
With back-to-back three-point games, Claude Giroux is up to 92 points. First may be out of range, but he could very well pass Stamkos (95).
Ilya Bryzgalov played last night with a chip fracture in his foot. He played, but not well – giving up five goals on 24 shots.
Jakub Voracek has nine points in his last five games. You know who could use a sniper like that? Columbus.
Torey Krug played 18 minutes in his NHL debut for Boston. The undrafted college star had two shots on net. He had 34 points in 38 games for Michigan State this year. I don’t think we’ll see an offensive splash this year or next, but worth watching and I think the B’s like him better than fellow prospect Warsofsky.
Breaking – Marco Sturm still plays in the NHL. Boy, seeing his name in a scoring summary sure brings back memories. Not really. By the way, he plays for Florida.
With another assist last night, Spencer Machacek has nine points in his last nine games. He’s not a sniper, and I question if he can even be a top sixer (although in the 2008 Fantasy Prospects Report I figured that he could be). But he’s scoring with Joey Crabb-like efficiency right now.
It’s really interesting watching this Nashville dynamic, in terms of ice time. Sergei Kostitsyn topped 20 minutes and saw PP time. Andrei Kostitsyn topped 15 minutes and saw some PP time. Alexander Radulov saw 19:28 of ice time and of course saw PP time. It looks like the Preds are going with a 1A and 1B power-play unit, as Fisher, Legwand, Erat and Hornqvist all saw PP time. Craig Smith – odd man out, but I still say he’s their most talented pivot.
Pekka Rinne was a healthy scratch to rest for the playoffs.
After zero points in his first 11 games with Vancouver, Marc-Andre Gragnani has points in three straight. Did he do this last year? You know – kick ass down the stretch and into the playoffs. If he’s doing it again, then Vancouver fans are in for a treat.
The Isles have signed Brock Nelson to an ELC. Nelson is another great prospect in their stable and he’ll play in the AHL next year. In 2013 though, he should slide in as a Nick Spaling-type on the third line (with second line upside). The pieces are coming together, it just takes awhile.
Jacob Josefson is on the shelf for the next 4-6 weeks with a fractured wrist. Thanks for coming out Jacob, that trip across the ocean was well worth it – injury after injury, and a nice little certificate that says “Band-Aid Boy”.
Mike Smith has three shutouts in a row. Wowzers.
Wow – Kris Letang – hang your head in shame, buddy…
I've never seen a goalmouth scramble like this not get whistled down. WOW - is this to make up for "the goal" of 1999? Saved Buffalo's playoff hopes right here: